One of the first questions you may ask in starting your group, and throughout your planning and promoting process, is Who is the audience? It’s a great question to ask often, especially when thinking of how to frame events, what topics are of interest, and where to advertise your events.

Programmatic Details

The target audience for NetSquared’s local events includes anyone interested in the intersection of social impact and technology, really. That might mean nonprofit leaders or staff, or government officials and agencies; developers or designers; foundations or venture funds; start ups, entrepreneurs or social innovators; volunteers, tinkerers, or thinkers.

Most often, NetSquared’s local groups are powered by people who work in or with (or volunteer for) nonprofit organizations or social causes, with varying personal expertise with social technologies.

As strategic as it is to have another co-organizer to help share the work, it’s equally strategic to have help reaching a diverse audience for your events. Your speakers/presenters also offer a great opportunity to promote your group/events to new audience by encouraging them to share their speaking details with their communities.

One lesson that the Net2 Chicago group learned early on is that co-organizers are encouraged to network amongst the various spheres within the tech community. Being able to invite people face to face creates a much stronger sense of commitment and dedication, and also allows for a much more diverse audience.

Case Studies

Finding new speakers and community members:

  • Vancouver, BC, Canada – nonprofit, consultant and entrepreneurs (social conscious businesses)
  • London, UK – intros at the start of every event, mix of consultants, local gov, nonprofits
  • North Carolina, USA – intros; have a mix of everything in membership – few people who come all the time; different crowds depending on topics
  • Toronto, Canada – a lot of nonprofits with a sprinkling of agency or development or developer folks
  • Seattle, WA, USA – half people are nonprofits, people who aren’t directly involved in a nonprofit but interested in tech for change generally
  • Traverse City, MI, USA – all geeks, reached out to nonprofits but they haven’t shown up yet
  • Chicago, IL, USA – a mix of various types, including small/medium non-profits, social entrepreneurs, some social media “mavens”, some slight smattering of geeks, and some strong community/tech based organizers (like Free Geek Chicago, CDAA)
  • Baltimore, MD, USA – nonprofit, consultants, and tech entrepreneurs; has helped to talk up the event to a variety of group and to keep reminding people.

Group size:

  • Net2NO (New Orleans, LA,USA) – Don’t be discouraged if your attendance wanes. Techies may not enjoy the same topics as NPO staff and vice versa.
  • Net2Chi (Chicago, IL, USA) – Be open to having variation in attendance – sometimes, conditions outside of one’s control (weather, other events, etc) can influence who attends your meetings. Our meetings have been as small as 6 – 7 people, and as large as 30.

Connecting with Existing Networks

Here are a few US-based networks that might have local chapters, local listservs, or networks in your city whose members might be interested in your group. We’ve also included some online community and meetup listings.


Social Calendaring Sites and Social Networking Sites

Available Resources